TURLOCK – It’s games like these, a softball soap opera against her archrival, that Shelby Frutoz will remember the most.
“I’m excited and sad,” she admitted Thursday afternoon. “Time flies. This chapter is ending.”
Frutoz, Turlock High’s four-year varsity star, will pitch next season for Long Beach State. She’ll surely take sweet memories with her, and the Bulldogs’ taut 3-1 Central California Athletic League victory over crosstown protagonist Pitman may top the list.
Frutoz contributed a bunch — seven hard-working innings in the circle and, at the plate, three hits highlighted by a solo home run to center. But Turlock (9-4, 5-2) needed more, and the Bulldogs got it in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie.
Maryn Thompson singled and advanced on Kylie Coelho’s sacrifice. Then with two out, Faith Hernandez sliced the first pitch down the left field line for the run-scoring triple. Faith Erb added an important insurance run with a single.
Hernandez, a junior, transferred after she spent her freshman year at Oakdale. Hence her nickname, "Oakdale."
“I’ve been struggling lately,” she said. “She (Pitman pitcher Gabby De Leon) was throwing first-pitch strikes. The pitch was low and away. I was ready for it.”
De Leon, a sophomore, struck out six and matched Frutoz (eight strikeouts) through six innings. The game featured a little bit of everything – out-of-batters-box outs, double plays and the usual Pitman-Turlock intensity.
“A lot of these kids play together on club teams. I think it’s that way in most sports these days,” Turlock coach Jill Ogden said. “They all know each other.”
Pitman (5-8, 3-4) proved far more stubborn than its 6-1 loss to Turlock on March 19. In fact, it appeared the Pride had taken a 2-1 lead in the sixth. But the go-ahead run, seemingly plated after Coelho’s diving catch in shallow left, was erased after the base runner at third was ruled to not have tagged up.
“She definitely didn’t get back to third,” Frutoz said. “We knew right away we were going to appeal.”
Coelho, a 4-foot-10 junior, stands a full foot shorter than Frutoz. Her impact this day, however, was huge. Pitman responded to Turlock’s rally by sending the winning run to the plate, but Coelho raced into foul ground to snag Gracie Alves’ drive for the final out.
“Anything hit to left is an out,” Frutoz said. “She catches everything.”
Turlock 100 000 2 – 3 7 2
Pitman 100 000 0 –1 6 0
Shelby Frutoz and Mackenzie Campbell. Gabby DeLeon and Maddy Insell. Turlock – Frutoz 3-4 with HR; Faith Hernandez RBI 3b; Faith Erb RBI 1b. Pitman – Megan Johnson 2-3; Kayleen Zayehmoureh 2b.
Records – Turlock 9-4, 5-2 CCAL; Pitman 5-8, 3-4 CCAL.